Chapter 1: What is Interaction Design?

Chapter Introduction | Web Resources | Assignment Comments | Teaching Materials

Below is additional material associated with the topics covered in chapter 1.

Interaction Design

Terry Winograd's article mentioned in chapter 1 gives an in-depth explanation of interaction design: "From Computing Machinery to Interaction Design" Published online by permission from Peter Denning and Robert Metcalfe (eds.) Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing, Springer-Verlag, 1997, 149-162. A thought-provoking essay on "What is interaction design?" written by Craig Marion (an information designer and architect), originally published in the May 1999 issue of News and Views, the publication of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter of the Society for Technical Communications. In it he discusses where the term interaction design came from and how it relates to HCI and information design. Written in an accessible form with some nice illustrations. A seminal article on the practice of interaction design, written by Robert Reimann back in 2001, called “So you want to be an interaction designer” can be found at:

It has been highly influential in the field, for example, see Dan Saffer’s (Adaptive Path) 2006 essay:

There is an increasing number of blogs on interaction design. We have selected some of our favorites that appear on our starters page. O’Danny Boy ( also has a summary of his favorite articles on design on his website (see Take a look at a sample chapter that is free to download from the second edition of his book on interaction design. See

The amusing History of the Button website provides a history of interaction design through the eyes of the push button! See:

Good and bad designs

Don Norman has written a number of essays and books on this topic. For a number of thought provoking examples see:

Bad designs is an online scrapbook of illustrated examples of things that are hard to use because they do not follow user-centered design principles, compiled by Michael J. Darnell. Some of them are included in the accompanying overheads. See:

Design principles

There are a number of articles discussing design principles on the web. Visit Don Norman's website and take a look in particular at the papers on affordances and constraints: Norman, D. A. (1999). Affordance,conventions, and design. Interactions 6, 3 (May. 1999), Pages 38 - 43 Copyright 1999, Donald A. Norman. All rights reserved. Can be found at

Ask Tog has a large collection of usability principles that are clearly explained and which are also in Dutch, German and Spanish. See


Web accessibility initiative (WAI) develops guidelines that are the international standard for web design:
A freely available OpenLearn LabSpace course on interaction design and accessibility: